Tag Archives: School

chocolate salad…

Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekends were rejuvenating, fun, and family filled. I didn’t get to see my family since they live so many states away, but I did get to talk to them over the phone as well as receive a a beautiful bouquet of Easter-colored flowers from my mom and step pops.

I really like Mondays. I see them as an opportunity for a new start. It’s a fresh week, and you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do, and shake off any lingering stress or negativity from the week before. Thanks to this inspirational post from Lori, I started a gratitude journal last night. Just my single entry so far has lightened my mood and makes me smile every time I think of it. I swear I am getting cheesier with age. I used to be fairly cheesy, a pseudo cheese, like Kraft American singles. Not real cheese, but it’s trying. Then, in high school, I got a bit more sentimental and graduated to cheddar status. Now, as college comes to a close, I am full on French stinky cheese. The finest Gruyere, if you will.

Question: Do any of y’all keep gratitude journals or affirmation boards? Comment with any fresh ideas for  self reflection or something that you are grateful for!

In my last post. I said I would go over my Spring schedule and some purchases I am amped about.

My classes are Nutrition and Aging, BIOLOGY (and the lab -_-), and Neuro Physio biology lab. The nutrition course is a “joke” and “designed for seniors” according to my professor, so that’s awesome. [Note sarcasm.] It is nice that I won’t have to stress over it, but Im also a bit sad that he isn’t taking this opportunity to blow our minds with studies and knowledge on the zillions of topics he could go into with the class. The bio is a freshman/sophomore course, so I’m thinking it will be pretty easy, just very time consuming with the busy work, lab, and apparently memorizing the entire tree of life. And NPB 101L seems like it will be fascinating; our labs include dissecting a frog heart, stimulating frog leg muscles, peeing into a cup and analyzing it, measuring our VO2 max, and something with GI motility ;). I am scared shitless for the lab reports though. Word on the street is that they take 4 days to write and are an average of 25 pages. Awesome.

My MCAT course via Princeton Review is finally over –> Yay!! However, now that means its all on me. I sort of made a study plan… Once again, I am going to post my schedule to hold myself accountable… Behold.

Anality at its finest. That night time studying is pretty sketch. 

The purchases I mentioned are two new pairs of shoes that I got in Austin over Spring Break (THANK YOU MAMA!). One pair is a Vibram/New Balance hybrid that is perfect for lifting and CrossFitting.

 

I ADORE these. I can actually feel what I am doing so much more and my form has definitely benefitted from the lack of support. Squats and deadlifts are more through the heels and balanced. Box jumps feel safer in that I can actually feel myself landing on the box/plastic hollow board. The other pair has slightly more support and will be for running; my first pair of Sauconys. I feel bad betraying my beloved Brooks, but these shoes feel amazing. The Sauconys aren’t barefoot runners but they don’t have nearly as much support as what I am used to. I feel light as birdy. Nay. A butterfly.

Andddd finally, I have for you a salad that involves chocolate. I was skeptical at first, and yet intrigued when I first saw the recipe. As it turns out, cacao nibs are delicious and make an epic pair with citrus fruits. You must try this. I made it three days in a row, and only because I ran out of nibs.

Spinach & Citrus Salad with Cacao Nibs

Recipe: Serves 1

adapted from Not Without Salt

3-4 cups baby spinach

1/2 large orange, slices cut in half

a few slices grape fruit (optional)

handful cacao nibs

a twist of fresh ground pepper

for the dressing - 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic

1 tbsp orange juice

pinch salt

Directions – Toss the spinach and citrus in the dressing. Top with cacao. Enjoy!

You know you truly love chocolate when you can appreciate the unadorned cacao nib.

Detox: Day 3-5. Conquering of the migraines!

Day 3:

Day three was a success as far as the detox went. My headaches were still present, but more of a dull humming rather than an opera of cracked out hyenas. ………  I didn’t have any coffee, dairy, refined sugar or wheat, but my food was fugly. I was rushing around all day going to class and studying for my midterm and simply lived off of leftovers. Lunch looked appalling and I don’t want to desecrate my blog with photos of it.

workout: bikram yoga class

Day 4:

By day 4, the headaches were almost completely gone, but I was starting to crave MEAT. I wanted bigger meals and more quality protein, so thats what I had! I don’t remember all of my snacks, but I know that fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and grain-free banana bread was in thur (somewhur?).

Breakfast: 

bowl lickin’ good

Breakfast bulgur heated up with some almond milk and a banana-peach pie topping! The topping was completely inspired by Natalie. Simply put some coconut oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add a few slices of peach and banana and saute. Add in a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Cook until everything is caramelized and delicious. Scoop on top of the bulgur.

Lunch:

Grilled chicken, bulgur, broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes tossed in basil walnut pesto. BOMB!

90 minutes of  indoor rock climbing!

Dinner: 

For dinner, I experimented with something that is new to me – white miso paste! I made a tasty stir fry with bok choy, japanese eggplant, yam noodles, and chicken that I will perfect and post soon!

Day 5:

Caffeine headaches were absent, but I finally started to miss my dearly beloved gelato! Snacks were the same as yesterday.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal topped with 3 scrambled eggs cooked with some butter, 1 sunny side up egg with yolk popped, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Satisfying.

Lunch: 

Best meal of the day fer sure. 

BBQ salmon and white bean salad

Recipe: Serves 1

2 cups romaine lettuce

sliced cucumber

cherry tomatoes

~2 tbsp Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch dressing

4 oz salmon, grilled

~1/2 cup white beans, cooked

~2 tbsp Trader Joes BBQ sauce

pinch salt

handful whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Directions – Toss the salad, cucumber, and tomatoes with the ranch and plate. In a bowl, combine the salmon, white beans, and BBQ sauce. Mix well. Scoop on top of the salad. Top with a sprinkling of whole wheat bread crumbs.

Football Field Sprints Workout

10-15 minute warm up jog

100 meter sprint down the football field

100 meter walk back to start

repeat 10x

10 minute cool down jog

There is something sexy about running on the football field. I think it is because it has been somewhat of a forbidden fruit for me these last few weeks. Every time I run to the high school track and football field, it is infested with pre-pubescent boys practicing for pre-season, and I am stuck with the track and bleachers again.

Dinner:

Dinner was another stir fry, and just as delicious as the first! It was too late to take a photo, but the main ingredients were bok choy, quinoa, egg plant, chicken, shredded coconut, and the rest you will have to wait for!

Post Dinner… 

Seeing as Day 5 was a) my second genetics midterm, b) the anticipated end of my detox and c) Friday, I made mojitos and went out with some wonderful friends!

Skinny Mojitos

best summer drink e v e r 

Recipe: Serves 1

2 oz silver rum

~6 drops NuNaturals liquid stevia (or to taste)

2 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)

2 tbsp fresh mint

6 oz water

ice

Directions – Combine the rum, stevia, lime, and mint in a glass and muddle. Add the water and ice and stir. Enjoyyy!

I am going to keep up with not drinking coffee for as long as I can. I am hoping to simply only drink coffee when I really need it. I also might reduce the dairy a bit, since my digestion seems to have improved without it. Or was it the lack of coffee? Or gluten? Or..

Guess I’ll never know!

Ps – If you are a winner of my NuNaturals Stevia giveaway and you have not contacted me yet, please do so by Monday at noon. Otherwise, I will have to re-pick several winners! You can check here.

[to die for] Lemon Basil & Honey Egg Salad

Good afternoon! I am blogging right now from school because we still don’t have interwebz in our new house. I took my Calculus final on Friday, which went really well! Afterwards, I met up with a new friend and went rock climbing for the first time. It was the perfect de-stressor and a surprisingly good workout! Two hours flew by. I didn’t feel exhausted until I tried to climb up the inverted wall. It is tilted towards you so it is much harder than a vertical wall, or a wall that is tilted away. My arms literally gave out as I struggled to cling to the little rocks. And I had only made it up a few feet… You really have to trust whoever you are attached to! I was mildly hesitant to let go of the wall off at 30 or 40 feet high, but I did and I alive to blog about it. Afterwards, I went home and packed for the big move. Saturday morning, Chelsea, her parents, Kristi, and I spent all  day packing up and moving to our new house. It is just down the street, but that doesn’t make it any less work! We cleaned the crap out of our old house. I seriously spent three hours on just my bathroom. I hadn’t cleaned it the entire year. At least, not really. I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the grout and I practically had to sandblast the soap scum off my shower. Sorry. I now understand why some housewives get off to hardcore cleaning products. Works in 60 seconds never sounded so good.

All the hard work paid off though, and Zabace is forking over the entire deposit! Pretty sure we deserve a medal of some sort.  If you are a hardcore reader, you may remember that I painted my wall 6 months ago a royal blue. Since that is technically really not okay, I scrambled to paint it back to cream earlier in the week. During the final walk through, the landlord walked into my room and got a puzzled look on her face. She said “Oh…. I thought this wall was blue. I apologize. You must have thought I was crazy.” I guess she had heard from a repairman or gardener that I had painted my wall blue and was planning on nailing me for it. Not a trace of evidence remained, suckaz!

Since then, I have celebrated, organized my room, started Genetics, and made dinner with my dear friend Dina. She finally came home from Palestine after being gone for over a month. We had a precious date that included dinner, wine, and a trip to my favorite ice cream shop. Dinner was an Italian stir fry, which I have never done before. We sautéed zucchini, onions, snap peas, and chicken with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper and added fresh mozzarella balls to the mix at the end so it was just melted. On the side we had basil-tomato-marinated mozzarella salad, Chilean red wine, and a slice of her mothers jam cake!

Okay. Down to the recipe that got me through one hell of a weekend. IT IS THE BEST EGG SALAD I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I have eaten this sandwich for 2 of my 3 meals 2 days in a row and then some. It is that good. Don’t question the ingredients, just make it and love it.

Lemon Basil & Honey Egg Salad

Recipe: Makes 2 servings

6  hard-boiled eggs (using 2 or 3 of the 6 yolks)

2 tbsp mayo

fresh basil, shredded

1 tbsp honey

squeeze of fresh lemon juice

dash cinnamon

dash dill

dash salt

whole wheat bread

tomato, sliced

Directions -

To prepare the eggs: Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with 1 inch (above) of cold water. Bring to boil on the stove. Once at a solid boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Immediately transfer eggs to bowl of ice water and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Peel.

Combine eggs with basil, honey, lemon, mayo, dill, and cinnamon (the two spice are optional but add if you have them!). Toast whole grain bread and top with tomato slices and half of the egg salad. Save leftovers in the fridge!

Make this. Change your life.

The breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas.

I have my final final today for the quarter at 1pm. I will then rush on over to my internship until 5, maybe (but doubtfully) squeeze in a quick run or something, and then get ready for the celebratory festivities of the night! I am quite excited. Perhaps a little of this…

Little of that?..

the annual bar crawl

Either way, I need some substantial fuel for the day. I’ve been fiending for eggs lately (I just made up the stupidest joke regarding the fertility center I work at in my head), so I made the breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas. 

come to Mama

This actually tastes like pizza. Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil (that I grew!), sun dried tomatoes, oregano, thyme, onions, spinach, perfection.

Italiano Supremo Breakfast Pizza

Recipe:c serves 1

1 egg + 3 large egg whites

2 tbsp onions

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

handful spinach

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes

basil

oregano

thyme

garlic salt

Directions – Toast the tortilla until it is just firm enough to hold its shape. Place a pan on the stove on medium low heat and grease with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, or however much you need to make sure it is very well greased (including the SIDES of the pan). Spread the onions in the pan. Crack the egg and egg whites into a bowl and mix well. Pour over the onions and cover. Don’t stir! Let cook until it is almost done and then add the cheese, tomatoes, spinach, basil, and spices. Recover. When the cheese is melted and the eggs are completely cooked, take a spatula and tease out the egg pancake. Try not to break it, but its fine if you do! Lay the entire egg pancake on top of the tortilla. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Onion * Contains quercitin, an antioxidant that halts the growth of tumors! Also, studies have linked regular onion consumption with lower cholesterol and reduced risk of colon cancer. A prime source of chromium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Basil * Has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids protect your cells from damage (and thus, in the long run, cancer).

Fun Fact

10 most purchased grocery items in America (in order) are:

soda, milk, bread, beer, salty snacks, cheese, frozen entrees, cereal, wine, cigs

Whole wheat pasta and shrimp tossed with wasabi sweet potato & ginger sauce

Happy Saturday everyone! The week really flew by. Between class, lab, internship, meetings, baking up a storm, and my car breaking down, I finally feel like I can breathe again! The car issue was pretty embarrassing. It has been making screeching noises for months now, but I haven’t quite had the time to take it in (mhmm). Finally, late on Wednesday night I drove to a friend’s house (whom I don’t know all that well) to return a jacket he lent me on a blustery night downtown when my car started going nuts. The screen and dashboard went black, the lights went out, and the radio went out while I was driving. I pulled into his driveway as it puttered – puttered – died. Dead. Kaput. I awkwardly knocked on his door with his jacket, a “thank you” crystallized ginger & wasabi brownie, and a dead car behind me. We tried to jump start the car, but it couldn’t even hold a charge so we pushed it out onto the street to be dealt with later. I had it towed the next day and as it turns out, one of the necessary belts was completely missing. I am pretty sure I ran it into the ground until the belt snapped and fell off… Woops. At least I learned my lesson! Don’t put car repairs off. 

Anywho, these crystallized ginger and wasabi brownies are the best brownies I have ever tasted and one of my favorite recipes. Joanne is a genius. I would never have thought to combine spicy wasabi with chocolate! MAKE THEM. 

Do you see the chunks of crystallized ginger?!

Since making these, I have had the ginger wasabi combination on the brain. I have been eating it on everything! For example, I brought lunch to school yesterday and the main course was grilled chicken and asaparagus tossed in a teriyaki-wasabi-ginger sauce.

plus wasabi peanuts, roasted peanuts, an apple, and a homemade protein bar

And for dinner last night?

Wasabi Sweet Potato & Ginger Pasta with Shrimp

Incredible.

Recipe: Serves 1

For the sauce:

1 cup light coconut milk

1/4 cup baked sweet potato

1 tsp ginger

1-2 tsp wasabi  (to your taste)

1 tsp crystallized ginger, chopped  + extra for garnish

pinch cayenne pepper   (optional)

Directions – Heat the coconut milk in a pan on the stove on medium low heat. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer until it is a thick consistency. Once the desired consistency and flavor has been reached, remove from heat.

For the pasta:

1/3 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked

1/2 cup spaghetti squash, cooked

~12 shrimp, raw

~1 tbsp wasabi peanuts

Directions – Cook the pasta and spaghetti squash according to directions, I recommend making extra. Place the shrimp in a pan on the stove with 2 tbsp water. Cook on medium low heat until opaque, flipping after ~2 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain if necessary, and toss with some of the pasta sauce. In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta and squash and toss with the rest of the pasta sauce. Transfer to a plate. Garnish with shrimp, crystallized ginger, and wasabi peanuts. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Shrimp * extremely high in protein and low in fat! Contains selenium, tryptophan, vitamin D (key for bone health), B12, iron (needed for a healthy thyroid), phosphorous, B3, and zinc. The fat that shrimp does contain is the healthy monounsaturated kind.

Ginger * contains gingerol which relaxes blood vessels and thus improves circulation. It also aids in digestion and can soothe the stomach. Contains TONS of compounds that fight cancer!

Spaghetti squash * contains vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, B6, and lots of fiber!

Whole wheat pasta * unlike refined white flour, whole wheat flour has more B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.

Spotlight on: Vitamin D!

Good morning! The title of this post refers to an idea I had this week for the blog. Last week and over the weekend, I had to keep track of everything I ate and drank for my nutrition class. On Monday during our lab, we input all the data into a computer system and had it calculate every possible piece of information about our diets. Do you know how hard it is to input some of this stuff on Food Works?!

Tropical bowl

Breakfast version: Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, coconut milk, chopped mango, coconut

Dessert version: Vanilla yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt!), coconut milk, chopped mango, shredded coconut

Cheeseburger on whole wheat bun with pickle and homemade cookie!

Delicious

Summer Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

Recipe: Serves 1

4 stalks asparagus, chopped

2/3 cup quinoa, cooked

1/4 cup lentils, cooked

1 tbsp dried cherries, chopped

1/2 tbsp truffle oil (or olive or grape seed)

Directions – Grease a pan with oil and place on medium heat on the stove.  Add the asparagus and cherries and cover with a plate. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, remove the plate, and add the cooked quinoa and lentils. Cover again and let cook, stirring occasionally. It is done when the asparagus is soft (but still crunchy) and everything is hot! Remove from heat and toss in a bowl with the dressing (recipe below). Serve with a protein source, like grilled salmon!

Creamy avocado dressing: 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp greek yogurt, garlic salt, cumin, couple drops of lemon juice – Mash together!

The results of the lab were fascinating! As it turns out, I…

get 25% of my calories from protein, 35% from fat, and and 37% from carbs

I was within 2 calories for my estimated caloric need! SO WEIRD.

It is incredible how the body has the ability to regulate our hunger and fullness with such precision. Of course, this often goes down the drain for many people when they get stressed out, are on vacation, or are overweight. Abdominal obesity especially can disregulate hunger cues by messing with the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satisfied hormone leptin.

32% of the fat I ate was saturated, 21% was polyunsaturated, 28.5% was MUFA

I ate 233% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein

 137% of the RDA for calcium

352% of the RDA for niacin

256 % of the RDA for B12

Basically all of my vitamins and minerals were way over the RDA except for Vitamin D, which was a a bit deficient, and Vitamin E which was barely satisfactory. This surprises me since I eat seeds and nuts on a daily basis. I think part of it is the 4 days that were sampled and also the computer program that was used (seeing as it said that one day I got 0% vitamin D). Everything is so variable that you have to take all the information with a grain of salt. The results got me wondering what the best sources of vitamin D and E are and I thought it might be cool to highlight a nutrient every so often on the blog.

Whuddup Vitamin D?

Function: aids in absorption of calcium, necessary for bone growth, immune function, neuromuscular function, cell modulator

Factoid: Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so many products are enriched with it.  It is a fat soluble vitamin and can also be obtained from the sun, although glass and SPF’s over 8 prevent this.

Natural Sources: 3 ounces sockeye salmon (112% daily value), 3 ounces mackerel (97% DV), sardines, shrimp, 3 ounces canned tuna (39% DV), 1 egg (10% DV)

Fortified sources:  1 cup fortified milk (30% DV), 1 cup fortified OJ (25% DV), 1 cup fortified yogurt (20% DV)

Groups at risk for deficiency: older adults, people on very low fat diets or with fat malabsorption, people with limited sun exposure, people who have dark skin, and people who are obese.  [image source]

Rockin’ the scrubs

The weekend has arrived! This week was incredibly hectic, but very rewarding. I began my internship at the fertility center on Wednesday. I have a very good feeling about it, and I am fully aware and prepared to do lots of filing and notsofun stuff. My feeling is that even if 80% of what I am doing is essentially busy work, as long as the other 20% leaves me feeling fulfilled and/or  like I have learned something, then it is completely worth it.

First day jitters

On my first day, one of the nurses gave me a tour and I was able to see the ultrasound rooms, the cryogenic freezer, the surgical rooms, the sperm donation room……and the room where embryos are literally made! The embryologist showed me the microscope that she works under to artificially inseminate the donor egg. It is attached to a TV screen so I will get to watch her make babies some time! I spent the rest of the time alphabetizing charts and paperwork, but even that was interesting. When I got home, I was ravenous and made a delicious dinner and dessert…

New Zealand lamb sliders on a whole wheat bun with Lori’s goat cheese brussel sprouts.

You have to make these brussels. The recipe could literally make dirt taste good. I only made one alteration because I didn’t have any juice, which for me is a huge deal seeing as I usually butcher recipes.

Balsamic Goat Cheese Brussel Sprouts

lots of brussel sprouts (for multiple servings)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp goat cheese (I used a bit more)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I just drizzled it everywhere, Im not sure if I used a whole 1/4 cup)

3 tbsp orange juice pomegranate cocktail mixer (hehe)

salt & pepper

Directions – Saute the onions in olive oil until soft and add the brussel sprouts. Cook until soft. Scrape into a bowl and toss together with everything else!

Dessert was another blog recipe! I have actually made Joanne’s Boston Marathon Cookies twice. Once following her recipe religiously, and once changing it up a tad. Both ways were tasty, but my changes made them a bit more dessert-like and less snack-like.

Who knew sesame seeds in cookies would taste so delicious?

This photo is from when I made them according to the recipe. If you wish to try them the way I made them, sub coconut oil for the olive oil, skip the dates and lemon zest, and use more vanilla extract and sesame seeds.

On Thursday, I had my 8am biochemistry lab until 1. Knowing it was going to be long one, I made a hearty breakfast…

2 slices whole wheat toast, cream cheese, 4-oz smoked salmon, tomato, onion, salt

In lab, we extracted DNA from our own cheek cells, purified the lactate dehydrogenase enzyme, and then ran it through an electrophoresis gel. It sounds really fancy, but it actually wasn’t so bad. I didn’t do anything drastically wrong, but I did throw away the girl’s next to me test tube of purified product. I had to dig through the trash to get it out for her. Unfortunately, the trash was filled with saliva from other peoples cheek cell extractions…… Yum.

Afterwards I went to the fertility center, for a few hours and mostly did filing. I got to talk to the head endocrinologist the last half hour of my shift and those 30 minutes of conversation left me feeling so excited and in awe. I shouldn’t jump to any big conclusions, but MED SCHOOL kept running through my mind. As soon as I got out, I headed to the gym and did my usual weight lifting routine and followed it up with this bomb protein smoothie:

I could eat this e’eryday. 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

Recipe: serves 1

1/2 cup frozen cherries

3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (~25 grams protein)

ice

couple drops stevia + vanilla extract + pinch salt

Directions – Blend!

I am sorry this was more of a diary entry than a blog post. Hopefully it wasn’t too painful. I just got a package of vanilla beans in the mail (the envelope smelled of vanilla), so I’m thinkin’ sesame-vanilla bean cookies are in order!

Superfood dark chocolate chunk cookies

Good morning! There is nothing better than waking up early on a Saturday morning feeling energized and content. I love that I have the entire day ahead of me to be productive and relax. I plan on taking this little one for a walk, possibly to the farmers market…

And cooking and baking some things for the upcoming week. And studying, obvs, at the library with Dina and Jacqui.

Last night, I went to my friend Stefani’s house for a nice wine night with friends. She made the most amazing baked brie. It was stuffed into a puff pastry with walnuts and brown sugar and the whole thing was coated in egg to make it crispy on the outside. The picture does not do it justice!

Anywhos, these are the cookies that I made for the team of people trying to aid me in passing my biochem lab. They are awesome, if I do say so myself. No one would know they are lower carb and low sugar. I am calling them superfood cookies because compared to a typical cookie, they are packed with nutrients. Be sure to read the benefits at the bottom!

Dark chocolate chunk superfood cookies

They went so fast. Too fast. 

Recipe: Makes 19 cookies

Dry ingredients - 

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup whole wheat white flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar (can sub in regular sugar)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (or your favorite kind)

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash salt

Wet ingredients - 

1/2 tsp molasses

1 tbsp imitation vanilla extract (word on the street is that imitation is better for cookies)

10 drops stevia

2 eggs

1 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp Apres Vin 5 Spice Chardonnay grape seed oil (optional)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Combine all the wet ingredients in another and mix well. Pour the wet over the dry and mix with a spatula. Divide into 19 cookies on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Easy as that!

These are seriously delectable. The almond flour and coconut oil make the flavor more complex than your typical chocolate chip cookie. It just occurred to me that you could make these into salted dark chocolate chunk cookies. Oh god. I think that is what I will make today, instead of, you know, actual food for the week. If you want to do that I would try adding 1/4 tsp kosher salt to the dry ingredients.

my precious…

Benefits:

Almond flour * by subbing almond flour for regular flour, you are getting more healthy fats and less carbs in your cookies. These are monounsaturated fats, which raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels! Almonds also have fiber, manganese, vitamin E (another antioxidant), tryptophan, copper, B2 and phosphorous!

Oats * A prime source of soluble fiber which has been proven to help lower total cholesterol levels. They also contain a unique antioxidant called avenanthramides which prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This is good because the oxidation of LDL cholesterol is part of the atherosclerosis process. Basically, oats help prevent heart disease. They also contain selenium, potassium, phosphorous, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

Whole wheat flour * unlike refined white flour, whole wheat flour has more B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.

Dark chocolate *  has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants called polyphenols which help prevent heart disease by preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol, just like the avenanthramides in oats (above)!

Coconut oil * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism. It is great to cook with because it is stable at high temperatures!

A new direction

The weekend has arrived! I couldn’t be more thankful. I have had some life drama concerning my future building for a while now and it all came to head this week when I went to see my academic advisor. As it turns out, my sophomore year of college was essentially for nothing. I don’t want to bore you with the details, but in short, I took organic chemistry, physics, calculus, and biology my sophomore year at UCSB.

My life looked like this:

All of those classes (minus calculus) have accompanying labs, but they are separate from lecture and I only took about half of them. This was partly due to a full schedule and partly due to the infamous budget cuts. At UC Davis, the labs and lecture are the same class, so by not completing all the labs at UCSB, its like I never took 2/3 a year of Ochem, 2/3 a year of physics, and 2/3 a year of biology. Kill me?

I feel ill just writing about it, so I’ll save the rest of that saga for later. Lucky you :).

Sarah, me, and Megan

On a super exciting note, the blogsky and I are featured on the Her Campus website for UC Davis! One of the writers, Megan Carlisle, interviewed me and wrote a lovely article about my story and how I got interested in health and nutrition. To any new readers, welcome! During the interview, she asked me why I have this blog and I have been thinking about my answer ever since. I think I am going to go in a slightly different direction with the blog from now on… Since I started about a year ago, I have been trying to post brand new recipes every few days. Lately, this has gotten more difficult and has seemed like more of a chore. Because my true purpose for having this blog is simply to show people that healthy food can be delicious and easy to make, I think I am going to start posting more of my daily meals, even if they are a bit repetitive or super simple. There are so many amazing blogs out there with fabulous, and often times complicated, recipes – and my blog will never top those. But since that isn’t my goal, I don’t see the point in trying to go in that direction!

I do, however, have a bombbb new recipe for you.

Tart Cherry & Roasted Pistachio Granola Bars

I do not really enjoy granola bars and I find these addictive. They are packed with flavor and high in fiber. Although there is essentially zero added sugar, they are still sweet from the coconut oil and dried cherries.

Recipe: Makes 6 bars

1/2 cup dried tart Montmorency cherries

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled (roasted and salted)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp butter

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup oat bran

1/2 cup oats

couple shakes of salt

1/3 cup egg whites

drizzle of honey (optional)

Directions -

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Blend or pulse the cherries and pistachios in a blender until they are like a crunchy nut butter. If your blender struggles with this, you can add the melted butter or coconut oil.

2. Heat a pan on the stove to medium low heat and add the butter, coconut oil and pistachio-cherry mixture. Let them heat while you combine the oats, oat bran, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. Use a spatula to transfer all of the pistachio-cherry mixture, butter, and coconut oil into the mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Stir with the spatula. Add the egg whites and honey and stir more.

4. Press the batter into a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until desired doneness.

 

Perfect for on the go, too!

Benefits:

Cherries * are a great source of fiber and magnesium. In fact, too many cherries in one sitting –> too much magnesium –> RUN not walk to the bathroom! They also contain vitamins A and C, and bioflavonoids and anthocyanins which are antioxidants that can help slow aging and possibly prevent some cancers.

Pistachios * Contain monounsaturated fats which lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. They are rich in antioxidants, copper, manganese, B6, and thiamin. Vitamin B6 is great for preventing and curing hangovers!

Oats * A prime source of fiber. Also contain potassium, phosphorous, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

Coconut oil * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism. It is great to cook with because it is stable at high temperatures!

Puppy photo of the day…

Kenya and Nina

Blueberry-lemon poppyseed pancakes with lemon yogurt creme and maple syrup

Classes started yesterday and they all seem interesting so far! I got into the Biochem lab and it might just kill me. And my GPA. My game plan is to obsessively read the lab manuel before each lab and literally picture myself doing the experiment step by step. It’s the only way to reduce my klutziness. On my About Me page, it says that I am interested in going into researching phytochemicals and antioxidants. While this is true, I am very interested in that, I am not so sure that it is realistic. If my performance in Ochem lab is any indication of my lab skills – I should probably aim for a different profession. Here’s to improvement! But seriously, I have been thinking about med school and becoming an endocrinologist in the last few months. I really loved biochem and systemic physiology and I can see myself incorporating my passion for nutrition into treating patients as an endocrinologist. They deal with metabolic disorders and any health problem related to hormones (aging, reproduction, thyroid, etc). Merh. I don’t know.

On a lighter note, spring quarter has brought floods of people to the gym. I think the realization that swim suit season is fast approaching has got about 1/3 of the student population crammed into the singular weight and cardio room at any given time. It is a zoo. Boo.

LOOK AT MY BOMB BREAKFAST.

Easily my best breakfast of March.

Usually my pancakes don’t have the right texture, so I rarely make or blog them. These, however, came out flawlessly. They are fluffy, lemony and lightly sweet, not too wet, not too dry, with big chunks of blueberries. The lemon creme and maple syrup compliment one another fabulously.

Recipe: Serves 1

1/4 cup whole wheat white flour

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp poppy seeds

pinch salt

1 egg

a bit less than 1/4 cup milk

1/3 of a lemon peel’s zest

handful blueberries

1 tbsp cream cheese

1 tbsp greek yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

maple syrup

coconut oil

Directions -

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds, and salt in a bowl. Combine the egg, milk, and lemon zest in another and mix well.

2. While stirring, pour the wet into the dry until it has reached the desired consistency (smooth & pourable, not pasty or drippy). I had about 1-2 tablespoons of extra liquid (this is the downside of cooking for one). Fold in the blueberries.

3. Place a pan on the stove at medium low heat and grease with 1-2 tsp of coconut oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the batter.

4. Cook until bubbles have risen all over the pancake. Flip and cook until golden.

5. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, and yogurt in a dish. Stir well.

6. Layer your pancakes with lemon yogurt creme and top with maple syrup, extra lemon zest, and blueberries. Enjoy!

Make me.

Benefits:

Blueberries * have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of all fruits and veggies. Their anthocyanidins counteract free radicals, which damage cells and tissues. One study demonstrated that blueberries improve memory and learning capacity in aging animals. They also protect against all forms of cancer, especially colon and ovarian cancer.

Lemon * a great source of vitamin C. Lemons also aid in digestion by stimulating and activating certain enzymes!

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Whole wheat flour *  when you choose white flour over whole wheat flour, you are losing over half of the B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.